A Checklist for Aging Relatives
Few of us realize how little we know about the details of our parents’ daily lives, until there’s an emergency that lands one of them in hospital. Suddenly there’s a scramble to find prescriptions for their glasses, the name of their doctors, and how to access critical legal and financial information on their laptops.
The panic and emotion can be significantly dialed down by proactively putting an aging plan in place. Having checklists for aging relatives – and one for ourselves for that matter – is something that's particularly useful if you live in the U.S. By the year 2030, Americans over 65 will make up 20% of the population, according to the Institute on Aging. Yet unlike many other nations, older Americans tend to live on their own. Today, about 27% of those over the age of 60 are living by themselves and while 46% are living as a couple, there are no other family members in the home.1
Very often our families don’t live in the same town or even in the same state, so aging loved ones may need to rely on support from afar. That makes it all the more important to plan before issues become emergencies. Take time to sit down with your older relatives and document personal care needs, as well as the names of individuals with caring roles and other responsibilities. Also, ensure legal documents and medical directives are kept up to date, that key contacts and locations of documents are recorded, and that emergency plans are in order. Most importantly, share the information and make sure the directions are clearly defined and understood, with current providers identified and contact information readily accessible.
Below is a list of information required for a basic aging plan, whether you’re developing one for a parent or for yourself. We’ve also included an aging checklist to demonstrate how everything can be clearly recorded in one place. One last thing: Don’t forget that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules require consent to share the information.
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